Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Red Menace vs...the Avenger!

There's an interesting sub-genre of superheroes, known as the "inspired-bys".
These are characters who are inspired by other characters to take up the mask and seek justice.
Usually they're family members who take up the same identity as their predecessor (The Phantom, Black Canary, Silk Spectre of The Watchmen, The Black Hood, HourMan, etc.)
Sometimes, as in this case, they're inspired by an unrelated hero who just happened to be published by the same company!
The best-known example is WildCat, inspired by the Golden Age Green Lantern to become a crimefighter.

The Avenger had a similar origin.
When his brother is taken hostage by Communist spies who wanted his prototype StarJet aircraft, inventor Roger Wright is inspired by stories of the Original Ghost Rider to take up a masked identity to rescue him!
Proclaiming himself "an Avenger against the evils of Communism",  Roger dons a red costume in defiance (Communists were often described as "the Red Menace" because their flags were predominiantly red) and uses his StarJet to attempt a rescue.
Unfortunately, his brother, who had attempted to escape, was already dead!
Roger captured the spies, and declaring "No man can be complacent while such as you are bent on enslaving all Mankind", began a one-man war against Communists everywhere!

The war lasted only four issues.
The Avenger, like Nature Boy and several other mid-1950s heroes came along just before the audience was ready for the return of superheroes, who had all but disappeared from comics in 1949!
It wasn't until an updated version of The Flash appeared in Showcase #4 (a year after the last issue of The Avenger) that the Silver Age of Comics, and the resulting explosion of superhero books, got under way.

We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ have digitally-restored and remastered what we believe to be his first and best cover appearance on an assortment of pop-culture collectibles, including t-shirts, messenger bags, mugs and other goodies, in the Solo Heroes section of our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ line!

Show you believe in capitalism and buy an Classic Avenger goodie or two.
You don't want him thinking you're a Communist, do you? ;-)

Note: this character is in no way related to the earlier pulp/comic character The Avenger published by the same company as Doc Savage and The Shadow, and currently being revived by both DC Comics and Moonstone Publishing.

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